Geology Museum of Ipoh, Malaysia

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Khursheed Dinshaw (India)

The Geology Museum of Ipoh in Malaysia is located inside the premises of the Department of Minerals and Geoscience Malaysia (Fig. 1). The museum is an interesting venue where you canlearn about both the geology and the geosciences of the country. The easy to navigate museum was established in the year 1957. It is divided into seven galleries, all of whichare located on the ground floor (Figs. 2, 3 and 4). And theynarrate the geology of Earth, emphasising the importance of geology to the human race.

Fig 1: Entrance to the geology museum of Ipoh in Malaysia.
Fig 2: The different galleries.

There is an impressive collection of fossils, minerals and rocks. There is also a gallery showcasing samples of tin ore (Cassiterite), which have been collected from the various tin fields of the country.

Fig 3: One of the seven galleries.
Fig 4: All the galleries are located on the ground floor.

I particularly liked the amber exhibit (Fig. 5), which is part of the largest piece of amber ever found in the world. Its age dates to Miocene to about 20 million years ago.The original piece was excavated from a coal mine in the Kapit Division of the state of Sarawak in Malaysia. Embedded in coal,it weighed 70kg and was divided into three sections, with each section being almost equal in size. While the amber piece in the Geology Museum of Ipoh continues to attract and educate visitors, the other two pieces can be viewed at the Geological Museum in Kuching in Malaysia and the Stuttgart Museum in Germany.

Fig 5: Amber datingfromthe Miocene to about 20 million years ago.
Fig 6: Gemstones exhibited in the museum

The precious and semi-precious gemstones exhibited in the museum have been curated from not just Malaysia but all over the world (Fig. 6). This gallery has displaysabout synthetic and artificial gemstones.The gallery on minerals is an informative section detailingvarious minerals and their uses in our daily life (Figs. 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11). Be it in constructing buildings, developing nutritional supplements, toothpaste, fertilisersorpaints, or in gems used in the jewelleryindustry and in the manufacturing of utensils, minerals are omnipresent.

Fig 7: Minerals exhibits at the geology museum.
Fig 8: Minerals are an intrinsic part of our daily life.
Fig 9: Minerals showcased at the museum.

The section also gives the mineral classification, be it silicate, sulphate, oxide, phosphate, carbonate, sulphide, elementalororganic. The gallery also provides information on the physical properties of minerals, which is particularly beneficial for children studying about them.

Fig 10: Minerals on display.
Fig 11: The information on minerals is beneficial for children studying them.

The section on rocks details what rocks are and their types (Fig. 12). Malaysia also has a rich repository of fossils and most of these can be found as shells of marine invertebrates. The sedimentary rocks of the country have preserved fossils dating from various ages starting from 540 million years ago (Figs. 13 and 14). There are also exhibits of petrified wood and pseudo-fossils.

Some tips about visiting the museum
There is no entry fee. The Geology Museum is open from Monday to Thursday from 9.00am to 12.00 noon, and from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. On Friday, it is open from 9.00am to 12.00 noon, and from 03.00pm to 4.30pm. The museum is closedon Saturday and Sunday.
Fig 12: Rock exhibits.
Fig 13: Fossil and rock display.
Fig 14: Further fossil and rock exhibits.

All photographs are by Khursheed Dinshaw.

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